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As co-director of the Institute of the Environment, Jonathan Overpeck is working to help foster a new paradigm of interdisciplinary knowledge creation between physical, biological and social scientists-all with a goal of serving the environmental needs of society in a more effective manner.
Dr. Overpeck's research focuses on global change dynamics, with a major component aimed at understanding how and why key climate systems vary on timescales longer than seasons and years. Current work focuses on the Asian and West African Monsoon systems, tropical Atlantic variability, and El Niño-Southern Oscillation dynamics.
Much of his time is also focused on understanding Arctic environmental dynamics. Ongoing projects include the use of lake sediments for paleoenvironmental reconstruction, with special emphasis on understanding the role of the Labrador Sea in global climate variability. In addition, Dr. Overpeck is using paleoenvironmental data to understand linkages between climate and vegetation change, and to assess how the terrestrial biosphere may be impacted by future climate change and human activity.
In recognition of his interdisciplinary climate research, Dr. Overpeck has received the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal and the American Meteorological Society Walter Orr Roberts Award.